View previous topic | View next topic

Eros, Piccadilly Circus

Page 1 of 1

Saint Michael
42145.  Fri Dec 30, 2005 8:45 am Reply with quote

In the last series, when Alan guessed that the statue in Piccadilly Circus was Eros, he was told by Stephen that he was wrong and that it was The Angel of Christian Charity.

I believe that Stephen was wrong too. The statue was intended to be Anteros, twin brother of Eros, who was the god of selfless love, in contrast to Eros, the god of sexual love. The sculptor of the statue Sir Alfred Gilbert made this distinction ''reflective and mature love, as opposed to Eros or Cupid, the frivolous tyrant'.

The Angel of Christian Charity appellation only came about when people insisted on mistaking anteros for Eros and complained that the statue was an unfit memorial to the very respectable Earl of Shaftesbury. And I believe that Stephen also made an error over the direction of 'Eros's' bow, which I believe was supposed to point to the Earl's home in Wimborne Saint Giles, Dorset.

 
dotcom
42152.  Fri Dec 30, 2005 9:58 am Reply with quote

It says in "The Liar" that the statue is a kind of visual pun, ie Eros, the god of sexual love, burying his "shaft" up Shaftesbury Avenue.

 
Flash
42370.  Sun Jan 01, 2006 3:51 pm Reply with quote

Saint Michael - thank you: a layer below the layer we uncovered. Do you have a source for that? It sounds like one for the retractions special.

 
djgordy
42391.  Sun Jan 01, 2006 5:15 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Saint Michael - thank you: a layer below the layer we uncovered. Do you have a source for that? It sounds like one for the retractions special.


Will the retractions special be an hour long programme? The burying the shaft in Shafesbury Avenue is well known. Here is a reference:

http://www.takeourword.com/TOW135/page1.html

At the East end of Piccadilly is Piccadilly Circus, a world-famous traffic circle with a statue of Eros in the middle of it. But don't let this circus fool you. There were no clowns and trapeze artists here. Just as with Oxford Circus, the name merely refers to a circle (Latin circus "circle", from Greek kyrkos "circle"). Also, we're appalled to report that Eros was recently moved to one side to make way for more cars. Whoever ordered this move was sorely lacking in historical perspective. The point is, while the statue is definitely a winged archer, neither the artist nor those who commissioned the monument ever called it "Eros". That name came out of the popular imagination. Its official name is "The Lord Shaftesbury Memorial" and the whole thing was devised as a visual pun to commemorate this great philanthropist. If the archer were to release his arrow, its shaft would bury in Shaftesbury Avenue. Yes, we know it's a rotten joke but it was a little secret piece of London known only to those who loved the city. Obviously, that group doesn't include the faceless bureaucrats who pointed the arrow at random passing motorists.

 
grizzly
42610.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:36 pm Reply with quote

I found this from this link if it is of any use:

Iconographically, of course, this is Anteros, the god who soars above the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain in Piccadilly Circus, and the embodiment, in Gilbert's words of 'reflective and mature love, as opposed to Eros or Cupid, the frivolous tyrant.' He is thus an allotrope of the same figure on the Clarence Tomb, the Macloghlin Memorial, and the Leeds Chimneypiece" (p. 181).


http://www.victorianweb.org/sculpture/gilbert/20.html

 
Flash
42618.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:53 pm Reply with quote

Thanks

 
Saint Michael
42745.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 5:46 am Reply with quote

I am in the process of gathering information on the Memorial from some of the people involved in it's maintenance. Should anything conclusive emerge, I shall pass it on to you. Gilbert, the sculptor, had produced previous versions of Anteros, so the subject was not unknown to him.

The origin of the shaft - bury/Shaftesbury folklore would be interesting too, however Victorian semiology was rarely so bare-faced. Take their cemeteries for example, a large anchor might appear to mark the tomb of a sailor, but would instead carry the meaning that a person of great spiritual (and sometimes material) achievements was buried there - being anchored in life by their achievements. The cruder (and some would say rather vulgar) 'shaft' interpretation is most likely a 20th century theory, of the sort that sprang up between the wars.

Umberto Eco writes of the dangers of relocating statues with an intentional orientation in their original design, citing one in a small Italian town that was re-erected after World War Two, and left, rather than pointing to a bright future, as was once intended, pointing to the civic lavatories.

 
Jenny
42831.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:44 am Reply with quote

In Hull, when I was growing up, outside the City Hall there was a rather grand statue of Queen Victoria with public lavatories underneath it. She didn't look amused.

 
Saint Michael
44753.  Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:09 am Reply with quote

A good source of information on 'Eros' is the biography on the sculptor Sir Alfred Gilbert, by Richard Dorment, published by Yale University Press 1985. In this book the statue is given it's full formal title 'Anteros Agape'. Sadly it doesn't help to settle the question of where Anteros originally pointed his bow.

 
laidbacklazyman
44762.  Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:28 am Reply with quote

My money is it was pointed the way it is now and the pointing the wrong way story is just that, a story.

There is no proof that the cleaners put it back the wrong way and to do such a thing would be quite silly really

 
Flash
44771.  Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:12 am Reply with quote

True, but think how often you see a manhole cover which has had a yellow line painted over it, which has then been taken up by a workman and replaced the wrong way round so that the line no longer joins up with the line on the road.

 
laidbacklazyman
44799.  Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:40 am Reply with quote

That's true but if you look at this apparently 1920's Picture,

you'll notice that the statue points down Lower Regent Street, You can see Coventry Street and the Critereon Theatre so work out the positioning from there.

Also this Picture from 1896(3 years after construction)

Shows The London Pavillion (at the end of Shaftesbury Ave) behind the statue, showing the position now is that of the original.

 
laidbacklazyman
44801.  Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:46 am Reply with quote

You didn't thinkI'd make a rash statement like the previous one without research did you?

I just didn't quite know how to word the post and include the pictures without sounding like a 'hateful little smart-arse'

 
djgordy
44821.  Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:15 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
True, but think how often you see a manhole cover which has had a yellow line painted over it, which has then been taken up by a workman and replaced the wrong way round so that the line no longer joins up with the line on the road.


Changing the subject somewhat, yellow lines have to be unbroken to be legal. So if you see a manhole cover in such a state you can ignore the yellow line regulations. (It might help if you take a picture for when you go to court though.)

 
Flash
44885.  Wed Jan 11, 2006 3:38 pm Reply with quote

Good stuff, Andy. I wasn't questioning your conclusions, really; I just wanted to sneak in the thing about the yellow lines.

 

Page 1 of 1

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group